Cubs

Liriano will provide a lift for White Sox rotation

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Liriano will provide a lift for White Sox rotation

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Francisco Liriano brings much-needed flexibility to a young starting rotation when he joins the White Sox in Minneapolis on Monday.

Liriano, who was acquired late Saturday for Eduardo Escobar and minor-league pitcher Pedro Hernandez, will make his White Sox debut against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. His addition affords the White Sox the chance to use a six-man rotation -- for now -- at a time when first-year starter Chris Sale is battling fatigue.

If the White Sox had stayed on schedule, Sales next start would have fallen on Wednesday. But manager Robin Ventura said Sunday it remains to be determined when Sale returns to the mound though he is a candidate to go Friday.

Rookie Jose Quintana will pitch Monday at Minnesota and Jake Peavy will follow Liriano on Wednesday.

Our guys have been going at it full-tilt since beginning of season, general manager Kenny Williams said on a conference call Sunday. Weve done that with largely a young contingent of pitchers. We felt we needed some guys that had a veteran presence about them, that had pitched through the most difficult months of August and September, and can weather some of these storms mentally and physically.

Williams has long sought an additional arm and was diligent in his pursuit of Zack Greinke before the Milwaukee Brewers traded him to the Angels on Friday. With John Danks return uncertain -- though Williams said a potential surgery is the worst-case scenario -- Sale fatigued and Quintana nearing his career high for innings pitched, Williams knew a move was needed.

Though Liriano has struggled this season, he appears to have turned a corner. Liriano, who has a 3.66 ERA in his last 11 starts, believes he put too much pressure on himself earlier this season because of his impending free agency.

I feel like Im more complete than I was before, Liriano said. I was walking a lot of guys at the beginning of the season, getting behind in the count. Now Im going out there and having fun and being more consistent.

Ventura said Sale remains a candidate to start Friday, but hes hardly automatic.

It depends on how he feels, Ventura said. With getting Liriano, theres a chance to push him back a bit and giving him a little more rest in between starts, so it is a possibility.

Williams said now has the opportunity to push both Quintana and Sale back one to two days or skip them entirely when needed.

Sale, who is 20 13 innings away from the most he has ever thrown in a season (144 13 in 2009), believes hes only fatigued. The left-hander won his start in Texas on Friday even though he only threw 37 fastballs in 109 pitches. Sale believes he will benefit from the addition of Liriano.

Going through a little dead-arm period I guess, Sale said. Nothing terrible, nothing anyone else doesnt go through. We all feel this is something thats going to benefit us and benefit myself, a few extra days off so the next couple months we can make a push and get after it.

The White Sox are off twice -- Aug. 2 and 9 -- before they begin a stretch of 13 straight games and have five off-days left this season. After Aug. 9 the team has stretches of 13, 13, 10 and 16 straight games in between off-days.

Ventura said hes OK with a six-man rotation for now, but would like to cut it to five in September.

It helps everyone, pitching coach Don Cooper said. Because once these off-days are done, were going to be going.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls trade up or down in the draft?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls trade up or down in the draft?

Mark Carman, Hub Arkush, Phil Rogers and Will Perdue join Kap on the SportsTalk Live Podcast.

The guys start by discussing Brandon Morrow's injury that he sustained while taking off his pants... what's the craziest cause for an injury the guys can remember?

Plus, should the Bulls move up or down in Thursday's NBA Draft? Does it make sense to take on a bad contract in a potential deal?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: